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It is a false holiness, which is built upon a false assumption.

Sanctify them through thy truth.”—John 17:17.

It is a false assumption which takes it for granted that those who maintain a respectable standing in a respectable Church are therefore justified. Some of them are. Many are not.

By their fruits ye shall know them.”—Matt. 7:20.

Some love the world. They do not attempt to conceal it.

If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.I John 2:15.

They seek the friendship of the world. For this purpose they enter into voluntary associations of a purely worldly character. They give these the preference over the Church of Christ. They are found at the lodge more frequently than at the prayer-meeting.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”—Jas. 4:4.

People of this class need pardon first. They are under condemnation—and should be led to see it—for they walk not after the Spirit, but after the flesh. If they have ever been in the way of life they have erred from the truth. They must be converted. (Jas. 5:19). To encourage them to think that they are in a state of salvation, is to encourage them to believe a lie. To build a structure of holiness on this foundation is doing a work that in all probability will not stand. Those who are honest, finding that they have not received the blessing which they thought they did receive, will be quite likely to conclude that all is delusion. Those who are not honest will gladly take up with the delusion, and may hold on to it till they die, to their eternal undoing.

Live holiness! Talk holiness! Preach holiness! If souls who are under condemnation are truly awakened by the Spirit, they will, even though they go forward for holiness, soon begin to pray for pardon. Encourage them to go on with this prayer until it is answered. Do not try to persuade them that they are better off than the Spirit shows them that they are. Let them go to the bottom, and confess all that God shows them they ought to confess. Let them seek until the Spirit answers to the blood, and tells them they are born of God. Having obtained pardon for sin, and victory over sin, they will be in a condition to go forward and seek true holiness. They will not feel like closing their eyes to the light, and make popular usage a substitute for the word of God. The fullest consecration which the Spirit demands will be cheerfully made. They will not consecrate up to the point of popularity and stop there—nor up to the point of loyalty to the Church and stop there. Where the Holy Ghost leads they will cheer fully follow. They will not close their eyes to popular sins, under the pretense that they do not understand them—they will not hesitate to espouse the right because they stand alone.

It is a false holiness which takes the courage all out of a man and makes him the supple tool of the artful and the designing. The religious instincts of a soul truly saved of God are a safer guide for him than the logic of others. He wants to know what God would have him know. He wants to stand where God would have him stand.

That we are in danger of taking up with a false holiness, is clearly implied in many passages of the Scriptures. The Apostle’s expression “True holiness,” implies that there is a false. The numerous exhortations against being deceived, also imply this.

Be careful then, as you prize the salvation of your soul, and do not take up with a false holiness. Buy, at any cost, the “gold tried in the fire.”

Do not countenance the promotion of false holiness. Examine carefully the character of the preaching which you support, and of the books and periodicals which you circulate. Give your endorsement to nothing that will not stand the test of the judgment day. Be decided on this point. Take your stand for a genuine work. The necessity is laid upon us.

For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”—II Cor. 13:8.

There is no end to counterfeits. As soon as one is exposed, another is put into circulation. It is so in the financial world; it is so in the religious world. But there is this difference, no one wishes to take a bad dollar, while the great majority appear to prefer a bad religion. The crowds which go to hear Mr. Moody, appear to think they have done well if they go to hear him without paying any thing; while of the crowd that goes to hear Mr. Ingersoll blaspheme, each individual will pay his half dollar, or dollar, without complaining.

A few years ago it was the fashion to fight holiness. It is now becoming the fashion to preach holiness. But there is a great difference in the kind of holiness preached. All is not gold that glitters. All is not holiness that passes for it. There is still what the Apostle calls “true holiness;” and there is a false holiness.

We went to hear one of the divines in attendance upon the Prophetic Conference lately held in Chicago, preach on “Sanctification.” It was an able, exhaustive sermon. The whole tenor of it was false and flattering. It assumed that the whole meaning of the term was being “set apart for holy purposes.” Thus the place where sacrifices were offered was a holy place; the altar was sanctified; the first born were sanctified. But he said their character was not changed. “So,” he said, to a fashionable congregation, “if you are believers, you are sanctified, you may be the subjects of infirmities; you may fail in a thousand things, but your sanctification is complete. You are complete in Christ.” This, he maintained, is the condition of all believers. But it implies no change in their characters.

They should strive to have their character and conduct correspond to their condition. If they persevered they would improve, but they could never attain in this life the perfection which God requires.

The preacher said that Finney and Mahan, and even John Wesley had lowered the standard. “God,” the preacher said, “requires of man nothing less than absolute perfection.”

Is it not strange that, with an open Bible before them, men dare preach such doctrines? Under the Old Dispensation, a prophet asked,

And what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”—Micah 6:8.

So Jesus gives, as the great commandment,

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”—Matt. 22:37.

This is plain. It is as reasonable as it is plain. “With all thy heart”—not with the heart of an archangel #8212;not even with the heart of a superior human being—but “with all thy heart.” The weakest, the most ignorant can do that. The strongest, the most gifted can do nothing more. This is what the Bible means by our being sanctified. It is loving God with all our heart and soul and mind.

But, that sanctification is not merely a change in our condition or relation but also a change in our nature, in our character and conduct, the Scriptures plainly teach.

Take one plain passage,

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”—I Thess. 5:23, 24.

This passage carefully considered throws much light upon the subject of sanctification. It teaches:

1. That souls at conversion are sanctified, but not wholly.

2. That entire sanctification is subsequent to justification. They were already justified.

3. That entire sanctification is God’s work—a work done in us by God’s Spirit.

4. That it brings soul and body and spirit into a blameless condition; for they cannot be preserved blameless until they are first made blameless.

5. That it is attainable, for God is to do it. Who will dare limit the power of His grace?

6. That entire sanctification is attainable now, in this life, for the Apostle prays that we may be preserved in this state.

7. That it is a state from which one need never fall. For the Apostle prays that we may be preserved in this state unto “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And he adds “Faithful is he that calleth you who also will do it.” Only do your part and God will do His. There is not a single doubt about it.

Such is a brief outline of the teaching of one plain passage on this subject. Those who profess to be looking for the second, personal coming of Christ should be careful that they do not themselves furnish an evidence that it is near at hand by “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”

While we look for Christ’s second, personal coming we should go to work with awe-inspiring earnestness to get ourselves, and as many others as we can, prepared for His kingdom and His coming.

Especially should we put forth definite, well-directed efforts to spread every where the doctrine and the experience of that

holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.”—Heb. 12:14.

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